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More fire and fury

  • Editorial Board
    Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, November 9, 2018 | 08:54 am
More fire and fury Voters cast ballots at a polling station in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of US President Donald Trump's controversial presidency, with control of Congress at stake. (AFP/Kerem Yucel)

Former United States president Barack Obama said “it was the most important election of our lifetimes,” while President Donald Trump considered it a referendum on his administration. And after two years of the Republican Party’s complete control over the executive and legislative branches of the government, voters in the US were expected to exercise control over how things were going in the country.

And after two years of the chaos and confusion that is the Trump administration, voters were also motivated to bring back sanity and decency to US politics. And it was not only Americans who waited with bated breath for the results of the 2018 midterm elections. The whole world was closely watching and waiting to see if a system of checks and balances mechanism could be restored in America to rein in a Republican US president who has introduced some controversial foreign policies, from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement to relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

And for those who were waiting for a “blue wave” to sweep American politics, with the Democratic Party managing to wrest control of both the Senate and Congress as well as governorship in key battleground states, disappointment was in store.

It was a mixed bag at best. Progressives such as Democratic Party candidate Beto O’Rourke, who had become a national sensation for his grassroot campaign in Texas, failed to unseat Republican Ted Cruz, while African American candidates such as Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams are expected to lose the governor race in Florida and neighboring Georgia, respectively. In the Senate, the Democratic Party lost four seats to the Republicans in predominately conservative regions.

Regardless, Nov. 6 was still a good day for the Democratic Party. After two years in the wilderness, the party seized control of the House of Representatives, after getting at least 230 seats.

Most presidents would have come forward, congratulated the winner and pledged a bipartisan cooperation for the next two years. But Trump is not most presidents, and after making a gesture of decency, praising would-be House speaker Nancy Pelosi, he reverted back to his combative and confrontational mode in a bizarre press conference in which he threatened to adopt a “warlike posture” against Democrats if they used their newfound power at the House to investigate his financial and political dealings.

Soon after the press conference, Trump also dropped a bombshell by announcing that he had sacked attorney general Jeff Sessions, a move that many deem as an effort to curtail the Russian meddling probe that targets his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Russian affair has been a thorn in Trump’s side over the past two years and the probe, led by former FBI chairman Robert Muller, has ignited some of his worse impulses. Some of his controversial foreign policy moves in recent years have been motivated by his desire to change the subject from the Muller probe that is closing in on him.

Now, with a Democratic House breathing down his neck, the world should expect more “fire and fury”. Buckle up!

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